Frank Bertaina Dies

March 4, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

Expert West coast angler and fly fishing travel pioneer Frank Bertaina died last night from complications as a result of a recent heart attack. Bertaina was 66 years old.
Justin Coupe, whose recent film “Rivers of a Lost Coast” included interviews with Frank, wrote a fine tribute early this morning in the film’s blog. He notes that not only was Frank one of a kind when it came to injecting his personality into his fishing, he had talents that went far beyond angling — as a pitcher for the 1966 World Series Champions Orioles.
Long after his baseball career was over I was fortunate enough to guide Frank. We got to know each other through many hours spent on a small skiff, sometimes in terrible weather. Frank was one of the most intense fishermen I have ever known, and he opened my eyes to the potential of great casters when it came to beating the odds.
He also insisted on fishing no matter what the circumstances, and one afternoon in the Marquesas in 1987, when no other boats would leave the mothership where we were spending the week (because the wind was blowing 30 knots), Frank and I went out and jumped more than a dozen tarpon. I’ll never forget it because my hands were bleeding after poling Frank around the east side of the islands all day.
But it wasn’t my poling that made the difference. It was Frank being able to throw strikes, one after another, for hours.

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